In an offseason filled with uncertainty regarding the roster, Coach John Brannen is finally giving fans some clarity. With two commitments and Jarron Cumberland announcing his return, this week has been loaded with excitement for Bearcat fans.
First and foremost, the reigning American Conference Player of the Year is coming back to play out his senior year for the Bearcats. After testing the waters for the upcoming NBA Draft, Jarron announced earlier this week that he would be coming back for his final season as a Bearcat. This decision is almost undoubtedly the most important factor for Cincinnati’s success next season. With Cumberland’s return, Coach Brannen will now retain three starters from last season’s team, and arguably the most important piece to that roster.
Later on in the week, Cincinnati landed the commitment of Mika Adams-Woods, a 2019 combo guard out of Syracuse, New York. Adams-Woods was originally committed to Nebraska, but later decommitted. Woods is the 6th highest player in New York by 247Sports, and held offers from Georgia Tech, Nevada, and East Carolina among others. After multiple departures at the point guard spot, Adams-Woods gives the Bearcats some sort of depth at biggest hole in the lineup.
Adding to this newfound depth at the point guard slot is Chris McNeal, a grad transfer from Tennessee Tech. While McNeal has bounced around various programs throughout his collegiate career, spending one year each at Western Kentucky, Indian Hills, New Mexico, and Tennessee Tech, he has found a role as a facilitator at each, which could prove to be a vital skill next season.
With just a few roster spots remaining, Coach Brannen still has some moves to be made, but this week has been huge in gathering talent for next season. I would expect the coaching staff to keep pushing for graduate transfer Jaevin Cumberland, cousin of Jarron Cumberland and a sharpshooting combo guard out of Oakland, and to eventually take the best remaining big man, which would help fill the void Nysier Brooks left. All in all, while this offseason may have been a rollercoaster of sorts, it seems that Coach Brannen has everything under control, and should be looking at a stellar first season as Cincinnati’s head coach.